Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Borderlands Goodness: The Claptrap Web Series, Episode 1



Gearbox Software has come out with a new bit of advertising for their upcoming game Borderlands. If you remember the cute robot from my previous video post on Borderlands, then you're in for a treat, because he's the star of the Borderlands web video series.

Not to spoil anything, but basically, he mimics a very famous actor in this episode, and carries a potty mouth to boot.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Games I'm Looking Forward To

Sorry for not posting, folks. I took up a position writing for MMeOw.net, and that's also been eating up my time along with schoolwork, so I haven't been able to post much. The Barriers to MMO Entry will be continued shortly, but an MMeOw version can be found at this corresponding link.

Anyway, today I wanted to discuss two games that I'm actually looking forward to playing, even if they aren't in the general sphere of games I usually play. They're hybrid games, combining RPG elements and Shooting elements to great, yet different effect.



First up, we have Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition. Now, Ilike the Fallout series of games for their general post-apocalyptic scenario, but also because the original Fallout was the only one I was able to play. Basically, I've been waiting ten years for a shot at another Fallout game, and got hooked, but never finished the story when I first bought it.

Why?

Because there was DLC. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the DLC for the game, so I had to wait for a boxed version to come out. Luckily, this will be a much better purchase than getting each one separately, so I'm excited to see what tweaks have been made to the game since I last played it.

That, and I heard there's Samurai Armor. YAY!



The second game I'm looking forward to is a bit like the first: It's called Borderlands, and unlike Fallout 3, which was an RPG where shooting mechanics were defined by the game's RPG roots, Borderlands appears to be primarily a Shooter where the RPG mechanics determine the damage dealt by the weapon you have equipped and the skills you can use for your particular character.

The first image I had in my head when I heard about it was Diablo + GTA + Guns + Fallout 3 = Borderlands. I wonder how the reality stacks up to it though. I'm optimistic for this one, and would very much like to see the game succeed.

Anyway, enough about me. What games are you looking forward to in the near future?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Barriers to MMO Entry, Part 1: Account Management and Subscription


Recent events and developments have impressed upon me the need to write about something that isn't normally talked about when it comes to MMO games. That is, defining some barriers to entry in the MMO world.

This is the first in a short series of articles that aims to discuss certain aspects of MMOs that would, unfortunately, keep people from being a part of that game they want to be in.

The first barrier to entry in an MMO must certainly come not from the game itself, but from the means by which one enters the game they wish to play. That is, the account management and subscription page, or its equivalent.

Basically, I see two potential barriers to entry here: one is when you can't sign up for or subscribe to the game you want to play, and the other is when you have to jump through technical hoops to make the system work for you in the first place.

The first is easy to describe, as my previous entries on LOTRO may have shown. Essentially, when one is unable to create even a trial account for a game, or is unable to subscribe to it, that places undue stress on the person who wants to play.

Now, downtimes for account registration and subscription are not uncommon. Even the giant we call World of Warcraft must have issues at times. When the only way to find out, however, is to attempt to create an account, then we have an issue that needs rectifying.

First off, a means by which the company in charge of account creation and subscription can test the system should be implemented in order to keep a close watch on it. This is doubly important when you're offering free trials, as you turn away potential revenue when someone who wants to try your game can't do so.

Second, making sure that any issues are visibly seen by the public would be much appreciated. It might annoy some people, but knowing that the system is down and that the company is acknowledging the issue on the main site rather than in some obscure part of the forums would be useful as well because, at the very least, subscribers and non-subscribers would immediately know that the issue is there, it is being addressed and there is an estimated time for a fix. Besides, most sites won't even let non-subscribers post in their forums to ask if the account management page is down to begin with.

Now we come to what I feel is the more daunting barrier to entry when it comes to account management and subscription: jumping through technical hoops to get the job done.

Allow me to explain: imagine that you are an average gamer with the usual knowledge of technical information regarding browsing, gaming, and other sorts of esoteric techie knowledge. Now, imagine trying to get into the game you want to play for the first time, only to be greeted by a screen that prompts you to update your computer's browser and allow for javascript and cookies to be enabled.

We're not done yet. Imagine that you checked those settings and already set them to the appropriate levels to allow for the game to initiate the account setup process. Yes, this is still the part where you register for an account.

Imagine it still doesn't work, and you contact their support center for assistance, and a day and a half after sending your email, you get a response from them telling you to update your service packs as well and basically bring everything, including their specific browser of choice (let's say Internet Explorer for kicks), to the latest upgrades.

And it still doesn't work.

And you have to send them an email again explaining the issue in detail once again so that there's no miscommunication.

Are you annoyed yet?

You probably are, and the above-mentioned experience actually happened to me for the beta of an up-and-coming game which I won't disclose. Now, seeing as this is beta, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, but imagine if that were a newly-released game, and you had to go through that, and the support agent who emailed you didn't explain how to enable cookies or javascript or upgrade the system and you had no idea how to do it yourself. Wouldn't your patience wear a little thin by that time?

Mine would.

Unfortunately, this second one doesn't have any clear-cut answers to alleviate it, other than additional tweaking of the most basic of systems to ensure it doesn't happen to people. Heck, I'd even recommend additional further training of support folk or the creation of special technical templates so they can explain their answers fully and in detail to help the customer, but that's just a suggestion and not a flat-out solution to a glaring issue.

All in all, these two barriers to entry are the most fundamental, for they are barriers that keep one from even experiencing the game to begin with. They definitely need solutions, but at the very least, someone needs to be paying attention to these issues so that they can be remedied to begin with.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Never Forget: Ascaron and Sacred 2


It recently came to my attention via twitter that Ascaron, the guys behind Sacred 2: Fallen Angel had filed for bankruptcy and had actually closed its doors a few days ago.

When I originally heard the news about Ascaron's bankruptcy some time ago, it didn't seem like a big deal at the time, mostly because they were still chugging along as if everything was okay, and that things would right themselves in time.

Except, they weren't okay, and some recent posts on their forums reflected this.

A pair of threads on the Sacred 2 Forums, entitled "The Current Situation About Sacred 2" and "Ascaron R.I.P." had one of the community managers announcing what would be happening to the game: that a different company responsible for the customer support for the game would be taking over, and that those folks originally responsible for making the game awesome were more or less gone as of a few days ago.

It's a sad thing to see a game die a slow death, but there's still one more addon left for the game: one last, great adventure to be had. Hopefully, that also means that Sacred 2 will be remembered by many as an awesome game worthy of praise and admiration for breathing life into the souls of dungeon-crawling, loot-seeking, kobold-slaying adventurers like myself.

Monday, August 3, 2009

If Hell is Other People, then The Shire is Hell.


As has been established previously, I quite like Lord of the Rings Online. Great production values, interesting storylines for characters that aren't meant to be part of the main fellowship, etc. Last night, I ended with a bang, going nearly eleven hours straight just playing my Human Warden main and my Hobbit Guardian alt.

Except, I was mistaken.

You see, I had an extra day's worth of game time on the account, which basically meant that I miscalculated the date when the trial would end. So I played some more just now on the alt to preserve the awesome feeling on the main, and it was during these final hours of the game that I realized something: I absolutely loathe The Shire.

If what I know of the LOTR lore is true, then hobbits in general are supposed to be a very insular people, usually choosing not to go out of their lands, instead focusing on the little affairs they have in The Shire. I have to say, the quest designers captured that feeling of not exactly pettiness (more of being altogether concerned with their own world) to great effect, which I admire.

The thing is, the Shire quests, when compared to the quests of Man, are an altogether different creature. The impending sense of doom doesn't exist for them except as hints here and there in certain chains. Instead of fighting off the Blackwolds from their roost, you're tasked with fulfilling a fireworks order and delivering letters to other parts of the huge Hobbit starting area.

Did I mention that the Shire is huge and requires a certain amount of insane backtracking if you're there for the first time? Running back and forth is a pain, and probably a strain on my poor hobbit's little legs.

Anyone out there in blogland feel the same way about the Shire? How could the Shire chains be improved or streamlined perhaps, if it's even possible?

P.S. The Sackville-Bagginses are horrible, horrible people.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ten Days on Middle-Earth


So I've spent ten days on Middle-Earth, and I quite liked the experience as a whole, even with those hiccups I experienced during the attempt to get the game to work for me. Compared to World of Warcraft, the game is more relaxed, making me feel as if I was welcome to make alternate characters and not rush the experience.

Thanks to the Founder Trial I received, I also was pleased to get a hang of the auction house and mailing system, which worked fine and allowed me to send important goods to my alt characters and vice versa. Enhanced gathering and creation tools for the win, indeed.

I also received some good news from Turbine themselves, who've sent me an email regarding the ways with which I can go and add a credit card to my account. It still means I might not be able to play for another week because my credit card is still en route to me, but that's alright. I'm not entirely sure how the process will go though, seeing as I either have to call their number or fax them my details. I suppose calling them would be the best option though, if I can get permission to do so.

So to recap, in ten days, I've managed to enjoy Middle-Earth, save a little kid from the barrow downs, take down a conspiracy between brigands and orcs to disrupt Bree, learned how freaking HUGE the Shire area is, and gotten feedback from Turbine on my worries about subscribing to the game.

All in all, that was an excellent ten days. Hopefully, I can have many more in Middle-Earth.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Taken from LOTRO's Forums: My plea to Turbine to let me play the game.

Sigh... been wondering if I should post this since I started reading the information available here on the forums, and I thought, "I really have everything to gain if I can figure out how to subscribe to the game."

Here's the situation:

I live in the Philippines, and the only retailer here that sells original games not only has no stock left for LOTRO, but also doesn't sell the prepaid cards.

I received a founder's referral from a twitter buddy who lives in one of the territories that is supported by Turbine.

I found a post at ( http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?t=281296 ) which mentions that credit card subscriptions can only be done if you live in the US, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia.

I freak out internally. I check the My Account page, and try the Buy now Button, and it's true.

Then I remembered the PayByCash option. Well, just checked PayByCash's site, and attempted to purchase 90 days of play... and apparently, my IP address or something indicates to the site that I'm in a restricted country.

Below is the text from the error message:

The Lord of The Rings Online Restricted Country
We're sorry! The Lord of The Rings Online has asked PayByCash not to accept payments from your country. We provide The Lord of The Rings Online information about how often and from what countries their potential customers have this problem.
Thank you for considering PayByCash.


Given all this information, I'm running out of hope that I can play the game beyond the ten day trial. As I can see it, the only way I can find to play this game is if I use Western Union or some other service to send money to my uncle in the States so he can buy prepaid cards for me en masse, if LOTRO prepaid cards are still being sold on the cheap.

Thing is, I don't think he'll accede to my request seeing as his family's also strapped for cash because of the recession.

I could try calling up customer support to setup a subscription, but if they give me a "no" answer, then I'll have made a long distance call at some odd hour of the morning just to be rejected again.

I don't want to give up on LOTRO, but unless, by some miracle, the Community manager for LOTRO steps in (she contacted me via Twitter) and finds some loophole for me to play the game, I think I'm out of options.

I know it's silly to want to play a game this badly, but I really think it's a great game based on some astounding literature, and I'd like to be a part of it.

Within the past three days, I've managed to learn how persevering I am and patient with regard to setbacks, mostly because Turbine is having issues of its own with its Trial account and subscription systems. I can understand that.

I can even accept the fact that my connection or some part of the connection between my router and gls.lotro.com is pinging back asterisks: that's the nature of the internet connection that people face sometimes.

What I can't accept is going through all these hoops to get into a game just to be pushed back at this very last, and perhaps most important, turn.

In any event, it's 3:32 am where I'm at now. I'm drained, both physically and mentally, and I hope that, when I wake up in five to eight hours' time, something will have changed. Maybe something small, or something miraculous, but just something...

Perhaps something as preordained as a young hobbit picking up a ring that could save or damn the world.

Godspeed to you all.

-----------

I woke up this morning to a direct message from Meghan Rodberg, Senior Community Manager at Turbine. She forwarded my post to the Account Supervisor to see if he could help and told me she would get back to me after a day or so.

I don't know if it was my persistence that did the trick, or luck, or whatnot, but I learned the value of knowing when to keep a cool head and analyze the situation and when to let your emotion guide the way. As I see it, I had exhausted all logical and hypothetical options, so a plea based on the experience I'd gone through seemed like the only course of action left: a mild, tired rant, so to speak.

Honestly, even if I don't get into LOTRO at this point, this is the kind of customer service experience that really makes me feel like I'm valued as a consumer. I doubt they can do this for every customer, and I doubt anyone can logistically pull off such a task as to make the customer service experience a positive one despite experiencing setbacks, but one thing I will say is this: for all its issues at the moment, Turbine has earned my respect and support for trying.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Twitter, apparently a very useful resource.

Apparently, Twitter can be a very useful resource, as I've come to realize. So I think I should make a post thanking two specific people with my LOTRO issues.

When I couldn't create a trial account the normal way, someone with Founder's Status sent me a referral and we coordinated through DM Twittering.

Ethic of KillTenRats, thank you for your gracious assistance.

Now, when I find myself plagued with connection issues and frequent disconnects, a Turbine representative attempted to contact me through Twitter to see if she could help. I don't know if I'll be able to resolve my issue, but a community manager trying to contact me to help resolve my issue brings me much joy.

Meghan Rodberg of Turbine, thank you sending me a tweet. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A day's Worth of Lord of the Rings Online Impressions

Through the good-natured assistance of one of the members of the Kill Ten Rats blog, I managed to get myself into Lord of the Rings Online as a Founding member's referral. Before anything else, I'd like to thank Ethic for his graciousness in helping a fellow gamer out.

The impressions are below. Just note that I'm making comparisons as I go along, so please be informed that it is not my intention to bash another game, but to reference it for my own explanation.

-----

Impressions of Gameplay/Combat:

Now, I've played a couple of MMOs in my time, with each one having their own set of good and bad points, but this is the first time where I've found a MMO that, I feel, combines the good points of another game and adapts it for use in its own world.

I find this little nugget of adaptation everytime I play my Warden (who is currently Level 16). It seems that the Warden, which, if my mental timeline serves me right, came out after Age of Conan, took the one good thing out of AOC and adapted it to great effect. The Warden, like it or not, uses combination attacks to take down his foes.

Basically, instead of skill mashing, LOTRO's Warden has basic attacks that you can string together to create Gambits, or combination attacks. Better still, the Gambits have different uses, so you can use a healing gambit in battle to replenish your morale as well as a threat generation gambit to keep aggro on you instead of your mates.

What's nice about this system is that it encourages using different gambits based on the situation, as well as strategic thought to get the job done. I found this a refreshing way to look at melee back in AOC, and to see shades of it in another game is a good sign for me.

Graphics:

As you can see here, I haven't talked about graphics yet, and I don't think I will expound on that much. Needless to say, I think the graphics are nice, and if you're looking for something that isn't cartoony-looking, LOTRO is definitely a place you can visit.

Sound:

Ah, sound. I love it when you're there, but I get weirded out when you aren't. I love listening to the music in the game as it adds a nice ambience without being too obtrusive. Imagine a peaceful flute playing while you're fighting for your life, and the general idea is there.

The sound effects are crisp, though I have noticed that they don't always play. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it can be frustrating sometimes to fight, as I like hearing the clash of spears and swords instead of silence.

Connectivity:

My biggest gripe about LOTRO is what I call "relativity syndrome." You see, if things in my world and in the server are relative, then one has to be able to dominate the other so as to create a harmonious whole for the game. In this case, the server dominates, and thus makes the rules as to what people are seeing, even if they don't understand it.

In WoW, I could understand the lag or disconnection issues, because there'd be a freezing of my screen, followed by a disconnection notice, and during the interim between the notice and the freezing, something may be killling you.

In LOTRO, it isn't the case. Instead, you can watch the massacre of your perfect "undefeated" record happen while you flail helplessly about trying to understand what is happening.

What's happening is this: You freeze in place unable to move other than to spin around doing nothing. All the while, your enemy is stabbing you with his dagger and you're fully cognizant of this because IT'S HAPPENING ON YOUR SCREEN IN REAL TIME. To the server, it's probably looks as if I'm still "In" the game, but there's no way for the server to know that I've been disconnected until it's too late and I'm dead.

Oh, and I've noticed this happens somewhat often, usually after an hour or two of play. Sigh...

Maybe it's different if you're not on trial mode, I don't know. It can be frustrating, though not enough that it makes me want to stop playing.

Overall:

As it stands at the moment, I quite like LOTRO, even with that connection issue. I like how the game guides me through an epic questline, and at the same time, doesn't force it upon me. I also like the gameplay style of the Warden I'm playing, as well as the nice little touches like the Hobbit Houses.

Now all I need is 1 gold to buy a house, but that's an entirely different adventure in and of itself.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Unbearable Longing for LOTRO Part 2: Utter Desperation



I think the music video above explains more or less what I feel in a couple of ways. Obviously, "I want Nobody but you" refers to my need to acquire a copy of LOTRO at the moment or a game key at least.

Furthermore, the uncontrollable desire I have for the game is much like the guy with loose bowel movements in the video.To be utterly crass about it, I can't control my desire much like his bowel movements, and the universe keeps conspiring to take away the means by which I can make everything right in my little gaming world (reference to Toilet Paper).

Anyway, what's happened since the last post?

I did some more digging and found some information on the Free Trial Assistance Forums. Basically, Turbine seems to have been having issues with the Trial Account system for a little bit now, and it hasn't been publicized yet. I think that my inability to purchase the game digitally through their online store is also due to this issue they're having.

It's annoying to have such bad timing on my part, but there's not much I can do there. What I CAN do, however, is become even more desperate.

Which is why I was lucky enough to stumble upon MMeOw.net. The site's author may actually be having a contest for game keys soon, and therefore, it seems like my final option at the moment. While informing people of this fact hurts my chances somewhat, it seems like common courtesy to note that he's awesome for putting out contests at least.

I just hope I can win a key.

The Unbearable Longing for LOTRO

video


Have you ever gotten this urge to play a game so badly that there was this utter longing for that specific game? I've felt it many times over the years, whether it was Super Smash Bros. Brawl or Fallout 3, but this is the first time I've ever felt the longing for a game so badly that not being able to play is actually depressing me.

So, a night or two ago, I decided to visit random blogs online in the hopes of finding something new to occupy my mind and I eventually found myself inextricably drawn to Massively.com. I decided to check out Massively's coverage of Lord of the Rings Online and my interest grew in the game. So much so that two days later, which is today, I decided to go out and pick up a copy of the full game and its expansion just to try it out.

Now, in my country, there's only one store chain that sells original PC games en masse, and it's called Data Blitz. I went there at 10 am, sleepless and hungry for LOTRO action, only to find out that the game was out of stock in the branch I went to. They mentioned a rumor to me that basically states that someone bought ALL the remaining copies of the game from all the stores.

"That's obvioiusly preposterous," I thought. A phone call later to a nearby neighboring branch revealed that it also had no copies in stock. Upon going home, I called up three of their other branches, and each one had nothing to offer me.

Fast forward to earlier this evening. The game was in my head, taunting me to go and find a way.

It was enough to drive me to do something drastic: I went online and applied for a free 10-day trial and the subsequent digital download.

Except, I couldn't.

When I tried to cre­ate the trial account through Fire­fox, it said that an error has occurred. When I tried to create the trial account through IE8, it redi­rected me back to Turbine’s Gen­eral Free Trial Area for LOTRO and DDO… it’s as if the sub­mit but­ton was the wrong link or some­thing.

Fazed, but undeterred, I resorted to the last possible option: buying a digital copy and enduring the horrendously slow download speeds of my connection.

Except, I couldn't, yet again.

I tried using Fire­fox and IE8 to buy the game from the link posted on the LOTRO ad page that comes up prior to load­ing the LOTRO site. Thing is, every time I tried, after submitting the payment infor­ma­tion, it said that it was unable to process the request, that I should ver­ify my infor­ma­tion, and then try again.

The proper term here now, is SIGH...

It's been six hours since I began my attempts to get an online version of the game to no avail. Perhaps the LOTRO site is borked, or maybe I'm just in the wrong region to download the game. I only wish I had an answer, not only to the question of why I can't get a digital copy of the game, but also to the strange, uncontrollable desire to play a game I barely know and whose source material I never fully read.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I think it's about time...

I think it's about time I resurrected this blog and added some content. Expect a post about gaming and metacognition in the next few days. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

[WoW - Hunter] This post took longer than expected to get online


Some connection issues kept me from finishing what I started to do yesterday, but everything seems to be fine now. More importantly, I'm finally part of the Level 80 circle, which is definitely good news and bad news in a certain way.

The good news is that I can now start working towards getting into raids with my guildmates. The bad news is that I now have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Reaching level 80 means a couple of things:

1. Researching strategies and whatnot for bosses in dungeons and raids, as I soloed most of the way to 80.

2. Upping my gear to acceptable levels, making sure that I can hit enemies and do at least 1200 DPS (a relatively respectable number at the start) in a fight.

3. Learning even more things about the hunter that I probably didn't expect to know, such as gems and enchants and whatnot.

The important thing is that I don't make it feel like a grind. That's definitely something that's tough to do, since I make everything feel like work, but I do hope I can pull it off. WoW is supposed to be for fun, right!?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

[General] What a week it's been!

I took some time off from posting content on this blog and my personal one to go and finish up some real-world things that needed my attention, the most important of which was completing and sending my application to the Ateneo de Manila University for graduate studies.

Suffice it to say that the one big thing standing between me and graduate studies will be the exam that'll be coming up on May 9.

Despite my being unable (or perhaps unwilling would be the better word choice) to post updates here, I did update the blog's World of Warcraft blogroll with some more hunter-related goodness.

A very special shoutout goes to Garwulf of Huntsman's Lodge for not only offering sage advice to a perpetual hunter-in-training like myself, but for also offering to make Giantmaim Legguards at no charge once I scrounge up the mats for it.

Anyway, expect another post within 24 hours with a status update on Stillwater. Cheers!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

[WoW - Hunter] Victor Stillwater, Giant Rider



The last few bits of experience before hitting 78 were quite interesting. What really caught my attention was the opportunity to ride a giant, in order to find an even bigger giant, so that I could beat the stuffing out of said humongogigantinormous person.

The quest line I'm talking about can be found in Zul'Drak (obviously, I decided not to skip it ^_^), and starts off with you finding Gymer, a storm giant, in a cage. After finding some components to create a special batch of Seaforium to blow up his cage, you get to ride on him as part of the quest, "The Storm King's Vengeance."

After killing 100 Scourge and two Elites, the final guy shows up, and his name is Thrym, The Hope Ender. Defeating him after going through a veritable gauntlet isn't easy, but so long as you're able to command Gymer to grab a storm cloud during the fight to regain HP, everything should go smoothly.

For hunters, the item you'll want to pick up from the quest will be the Bracers of Vengeful Flight, a pair of nice blue bracers.

Pretty epic actually, and rampaging as on the back of giant is fun. If you haven't tried it out yet, head over to Zul'Drak and look for the quest at the approximate starting coordinates of 20, 56.

As for a picture, I'm having a bit of trouble with Blogger at the moment, and my pics won't upload. I'll update this with pics when I have the chance. :D

Thursday, March 12, 2009

[WoW - Hunter] Level 77 means never having to say you're landlocked.

First off, I just want to say that I hate shouting, and I don't think that the guy above should be asking me if I was bitten. That's a private matter between Stillwater and his Night Elf lady friends.

Anyway, I'm proud to have finally reached level 77, and all of it from the comfort of doing Kalu'ak Dailies and Grizzly Hill quests. To date, I have not yet done Zul'Drak, and I might just skip it for the chance to do the Oracle questlines in Sholazar Basin. Just a handful of quests away from finishing up Grizzly, and then I may just head there directly.

To that end, I'm also proud to announce that level 77 also means never having to say you're landlocked. By that, I mean I can now fly around Northrend without having to worry so much about travel expenses, and on my engineered Turbo-Charged Flying Machine, to boot!

First off though, I may need to look into the pros and cons of skipping Zul'Drak. As much as I want to do the quests in Sholazar, there may be something important in Zul'Drak that I need to do, such as a faction questline, or something else.

Would anyone care to enlighten me on the pros and cons of skipping ZD?

Monday, March 9, 2009

[Games Geekery] Two hours with Resident Evil 5



I'm back with a new monitor and a new game from the local game store, and I thought to give a write-up about my experience so far with the latest iteration of Capcom's Resident Evil series, Resident Evil 5.

So far, I've spent two hours with the PS3 version of this game, and gotten through chapters 1-1 and 1-2, as well as part of 1-3, and I must say I quite like this game, even if it does take a bit of getting used to.

For one thing, the control scheme has changed again (at least, as far as I can remember it when compared to RE4), so it takes a bit of getting used to. While I could change the settings into an RE4-ish style, it seemed more fitting for me to get used to the new scheme, as even obsessive compulsive people like myself need a change of pace every so often.

One other thing I've noticed is that you have to team up with a partner, which, while nice in theory, isn't my style when it comes to playing games. Resident Evil has more or less been about being by yourself against a horde of zombies (while your comrades did their own thing elsewhere), and while the added firepower and covering fire is nice, actually having a partner can be annoying in this case. *remembers the President's Daughter in RE4*

One thing I liked was the whole weapon upgrading system that I started trying out. Making my guns more powerful is always nice, and I've heard that a full gun upgrade can give you unlimited ammo, so it seems like a good deal for later portions of the game.

In any event, in addition to zombified people and gun-mastery, I also encountered the first big boss of the game, which happens to be kinda like a souped up zombie covered in oily zombie worms. One brush with an incinerator, however, was all it took to take that sick puppy down.

More Resident Evil chronicles and adventures when I get back into it. Till then... don't look behind you. :D

Friday, March 6, 2009

[General] Technical Difficulties

Just to let any of you folks out there reading this blog, I might not be able to post for a day or two.

My monitor's screen gets a little blurry when I try to use it, and I know it's not my eyesight failing, so I might have to buy a new monitor so I can use my computer again.

That said, expect a new post up as soon as I can manage to scrounge up the money.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

[WoW - Hunter] Becoming a Veteran of the Wrathgate

I didn't know that this seemingly innocuous questline I followed with a missing courier could lead me to an epic questline and a new achievement. I encourage everyone who's ever been in the Dragonblight zone to go and do the quest beginning at Star's Rest (for the Alliance, anyway).

It doesn't have a formal name, so let's just call it the Veteran of the Wrathgate questline. It's comprised of around 37 parts (more if you do some optional quests for specific areas that are close to the region you're in), which begin with a missing courier and lead up to an epic battle at the Wrathgate, and even finishes with the storming of the Undercity.

All in all, you get some useful Blue-level upgrades for your character, an achievement, 1/3 of the Required Quests for the Dragonblight zone questing achievement, and an awesome replayable cinematic that can be accessed by talking to a giant red dragon.

For more information on the questline, feel free to check the link above for the Veteran of the Wrathgate achievement, there's a list of links for both Alliance and Horde so that people can do the questline.

The only thing missing: a title like "Wrathgate Survivor" for following this epic quest to completion.

Monday, March 2, 2009

[WoW - Hunter] Level 75 and an accidental achievement

An hour or so ago, I hit level 75 with my Hunter... it was an anticlimactic sort of level up as I picked it up from killing a lower-leveled mob while looking for Rhino meat for one of the cooking dailies. Still, that brings me one level closer to joining my guild in the endgame, which is always good to know.

As for the accidental achievement noted above, I picked one up called Northern Exposure. I got it in the middle of performing the Kalu'ak daily quest in Kamagua, wherein I had to get two sea bulls to fall in love and, presumably, mate.

The thing that unlocked it... Attacking a larger than average penguin for no apparent reason, only to realize it was a rare enemy. Below, you'll see screenies of King Ping and the subsequent acquisition of this little achievement.


And the Achievement:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

[Music Geekery] - Meet Jero, the American-born Japanese Enka singer

Like I mentioned in my very first post on this blog, this blog isn't just about videogames. Sometimes I'll come up with a gem from the internet and want to post it here. In this case, I'd like to introduce you to a new musical find I've just spotted. His name is Jero, and he's an American-born Enka singer.

Wikipedia's entry on Jero has more information on the fellow, but let me say this at the very least: the guy sings Enka very well. If you check YouTube for Umiyuki by Jero, you'll find a somewhat silly, yet enjoyable music video.

Also, CNN's Talk Asia has done an interview with him that was also quite informative. You can view it below... if I got the html right.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

[Gaming] Grinding in games: not sexy.

If there's one thing that makes me tired in a game, it's the feeling of being repetitive.

Killing a handful of foozles (the standard literary term for random enemies... LOL) to achieve a quest goal is one thing, but the massacre of thousands of unnamed enemies for a trivial cause has to rank up there as a pretty annoying, yet seemingly unavoidable piece of work required in games for some semblance of advancement.

As I mentioned earlier, I probably killed a thousand enemies to get revered with a Burning Crusade faction in World of Warcraft. For what reason did I collect Zaxxis Insignias and Ethereum Prisoner I.D. Tags? Why, to buy the schematic that would let me make Elemental Seaforium Charges, a component required to create a Flying Machine, which was supposedly needed to create the upgraded version.

That was the hitch: I was working on obsolete information, basing my need to create a Flying Machine as a prerequisite for the epic Turbo-Charged Flying Machine. Only after spending a small fortune in gold and a bit of time grinding rep for the BC faction did I find that out.

Of course, I still made both the regular and turbo-charged flying machines, but it doesn't erase the sting of finding out too late.

While I can understand the need to grind to achieve certain small goals in games, I don't necessarily agree with it. Such feelings are exacerbated when one has the wrong information at hand to accurately gauge the need for the damned grind to begin with.

Sigh... maybe I should just read WoWWiki more before doing anything in Wrath. For a game this large in scope, I shouldn't really have to though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

[WoW - Hunter] Getting back into the rhythm of beast mastery

One of the things I never thought I'd do again was go back and play World of Warcraft.

It's been an on-and-off relationship with the game, and one that I can safely say has its own little space in my heart, mostly because it really is a world all its own.

That said, I've been spending the past two weeks just enjoying what the game has to offer in terms of its new class, the Death Knight, and just yesterday, I decided I want to go and take my main out for a spin in the new zone from Wrath of the Lich King.

That said, as of today I'm now level 72, and I've done quite a lot recently. Yesterday, I remember being a pain in the ass to Hemet Nesingwary's overzealous hunting brethren by being an active member of the Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals. Today, I probably slew close to 1000 Zaxxis enemies just to level my Burning Crusade Consortium rep up to Revered for a schematic I needed to make a flying machine... only to find out that I didn't actually need the flying machine to make the advanced model.

Oh, and I leveled up.

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That said, Beast Mastery isn't the powerhouse it used to be, though I find myself still gravitating towards using it ever since I picked up tips from the BigRedKitty blog. While I could probably change specs, something tells me that I won't lose my love for grabbing rare animals and using them to thrash other baddies into submission.

In any event, I'm getting back into the rhythm of shooting and commanding a pet, and it feels good to be back in the game.

Welcome to the blog!

Well, it took a bit of doing, but I've finally realized that Scheduled Downtimes for games you like playing are a good thing: they give you time to do other things you like to do, like blog.

In any event, if you stumbled upon this particular blog, welcome. This is pretty straightforward, as most of the content here deals specifically with video games and other things of interest to me, which usually means geeky stuff. Whether it be gadgets, World of Warcraft, the PS3, or the latest season of Kamen Rider, you can expect a post to come up here when time permits.

As it happens, there is one important thing I'll try to implement which I picked up from a friend. that's a two-pronged approach to tagging posts. While you will see a list of tags on the sidebar, you'll also get a heads-up as to the nature of the post in the title, which will be placed in brackets. It's more for my benefit than for yours, but if it just so happens that it's useful for you, then more power to you.

In any event, let's end this introduction and get to the actual content, shall we?